Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director JJ Abrams explains how Rian Johnson’s creative decisions didn’t affect how he’s closing out the franchise.
Talking to Empire, JJ Abrams explained that, while Rian Johnson may have made some story decisions that didn’t match up with some ideas that he would have had if he had directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the overall trajectory that he wanted the trilogy to go on has remained the same. Rian Johnson’s journey, in other words, did not derail what JJ Abrams has in mind for the final film.
JJ Abrams noted that the process reminded him a lot of handing off a series that he started development on to showrunners and then letting them go from there. He also notes that, in coming back, he will honor the choices that came before while revealing more to the picture, providing pay-offs to questions provided in his first movie:
“I never found myself trying to repair anything. If I had done [Star Wars: The Last Jedi], I would have done things differently, just as [Rian Johnson] would have done things differently if he had done [Star Wars: The Force Awakens]. But having worked on television series, I was accustomed to creating stories and characters that then were run by other people. If you’re willing to walk away from the thing that you created and you believe it’s in trustworthy hands, you have to accept that some of the decisions being made are not gonna be the same that you would make. And if you come back into it, you have to honor what’s been done.”
JJ Abrams has spoken highly of The Last Jedi, with one report indicating that he wanted to direct the script itself if he was able to. JJ Abrams returned to direct the final story in the Star Wars “Skywalker Saga” of films after Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm had creative differences over the project, and Rian Johnson kept his new successor up to speed about the overall creative trajectory of the story. Following the completion of the Star Wars film, JJ Abrams is set to work with WarnerMedia as part of a massive “megadeal”, while Rian Johnson will work on his Star Wars projects some time after the release of Knives Out.
Directed by JJ Abrams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, and Billy Dee Williams. Carrie Fisher will appear as General Leia Organa through the use of previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in theaters on December 20, 2019.